DC Multilingual Fair

By Asa Marshall

On Saturday, January 25th from 10am to 3pm, Japanese Plus had a booth at the 2020 Multilingual Education Fair of DC at Roosevelt High School, held by the DC Language Immersion Project that featured 150+ exhibitors, 18+ languages and career connections.

At our booth we were spreading the word of our program and getting contact information for those interested in applying for the next school year as well as those interested in pre-ordering the new Japan in DC book I was happy to be featured in. I was not that excited to work the booth at first, because it was my birthday and it wasn’t the ideal situation to be doing community service activities but I don’t regret it. I had the first shift from 9am to 11am and me and Katie helped Sally set up and work the booth.

It was cool walking around seeing all of the programs in DC I never heard of! I enjoyed the JICC (Japan Information and Culture Center) booth the most, because they visited our class many times and everyone was so nice and I felt accomplished when I could answer their mini quiz! I entered a goodie bag giveaway and actually won! I was also very interested in the many other languages and travel programs, and one I never thought was offered in DC was German.

There were so many great programs that students hardly hear about, so the fair was a great way to allow the public to get language and career connections. DCPS languages are very restricted to focusing on romance languages, such as French and Spanish, but it would be more helpful for programs such as ours and those of other languages to be more open, because students have far more interests than what school offers! If you get the chance, you should definitely consider attending next year!

Mind Over Matter: Ikigai

By Theo Greiff

Ikigai is a way of life originating from Japan built around finding and pursuing your purpose. Upon hearing this, I was incredibly interested as the idea of purpose is one very close to my mind. I’ve struggled with the idea of purpose for a while because my interests are so varied that I can never seem to find one thing I really want to do. Additionally, I’ve never subscribed to the idea of a preordained purpose so the solution I came to was this: we have no purpose in life except those we give ourselves.

With this in mind, I view Ikigai as a self-help guide to finding your self-appointed purpose. It is divided into four primary parts: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you are paid for. Where these four meet is your Ikigai. For example, if the world needs better food distribution and you love cooking but are skilled at management, maybe your Ikigai could revolve around food drives. The philosophy of Ikigai allows people to help the world at large while pursuing their own, personal happiness.

However, the effects of Ikigai are not solely immaterial and practicing ikigai has been directly linked to a variety of very real health benefits. Within the body, the mindset of Ikigai balances out neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine and there is a negative correlation between Ikigai and anxiety. As a result, Ikigai is frequently cited as a potential cause for the longevity of Japanese people about which multiple texts have been written.

Responsibilities: A Complaint

By Theo Greiff

Japanese Plus has, for me, been one of the most enjoyable activities I have had over the past year and, importantly, was one that I pursued almost entirely on my own. That being said it remains a commitment and, no matter how much I may enjoy it, work is work. As such, I have decided to devote this blog to an unnecessarily meta discussion on the process and personal difficulty of writing a blog.

I should preface that my time management is, and has always been, abysmal. In school I consistently defer assignments to the last possible day and i do the same with my chores. I have an intense dislike of doing things I don’t want to do and I believe my consistent failure to manage this issue is the aspect of myself most in need of change. As such, it should be of no surprise that I am currently quite behind in my blog writing and as such am forced to rely upon the work of meta humor before you.

This being said, I am starting to view these blogs as a microcosm for my time management as a whole. Even if I have trouble with the stuff I don’t like, I should be able to do the assignments I choose to do which is, if nothing else, a start. Though I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, it seems appropriate to make one now dedicated to improving my ability to do the things I don’t want in order to do the things I do.